In a bid to ramp up efforts to curb outbreaks of Covid-19 infections, China has recently started using anal swabs to test those at high risk of contracting the disease.
China conducts anal swabs
Over 1,000 teachers and students in Beijing were given anal, nasal, and throat swabs last week after one asymptomatic case was detected on campus, reported Bloomberg on Jan. 27.
Passengers on a flight to Changchun on Jan. 25 were also instructed to disembark, and were brought to a hotel for nasal and anal swabs, after officials found that someone on board was from an area deemed as high risk for virus transmission.
Chinese officials began deploying the new measures ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays as local infections and outbreaks continue to rise in some regions, such as Northeastern Jilin province.
Anal swab samples tested positive when throat swabs tested negative, study showed
According to a study published by a group of Chinese researchers in August 2020, some recovering Covid-19 patients' anal swab samples had tested positive despite their throat swabs testing negative, reported The Washington Post.
The tests were first conducted after the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention published instructions for testing in March 2020.
An anal swab is conducted by inserting a cotton-tipped stick 3-5cm into the rectum, twirling the stick around four to five times before pulling it out, according to an instructional video.
The process should generally be completed within 10 seconds.
Weibo users appalled and amused by new measures
The anal swabs have been met with resistance and horror on Chinese social media, with some Weibo users expressing their disgust towards the new measures.
However, many also found humour in the situation.
"I dreamt that I had to do an anal swab test, and just couldn't pull it out as hard as I tried. Afterwards... it's too disgusting, let's not talk about it."
"Anal swabs: Reality vs netizens's imagination"
One user also shared a spoofed illustration appearing to be instructions on how to conduct an anal swab test, which went viral on Weibo.
According to the instructional video, this is how it is supposed to look like:
Top image via Weibo, Getty Images